Help with Chord chart

I’m doing arrangements for a small swing band, with sax, clarinet, keyboard, guitar, vocals and drums. My guitar player doesn’t want to have to wear his glasses during a gig, so he wants his part to just be chord symbols (no melody or other notes unless absolutely necessary). And he wants the chord symbols to be really big. (Insert comments regarding guitar players and charts here.)

He basically wants something that looks like an IREALPRO chord chart, if you’re familiar with that. Does anyone have any suggestions how I could do a layout for him in Dorico that would not show the staff, not include any notes and would have the chord symbols much larger than for the other layouts?

I appreciate any suggestions!
Thank you.


I believe the main problem is, that it is not possible to hide the staff lines completely. You can get one really thing line, but not none.

All other things are somehow solvable:

The size of the time signature and chord symbols are scalable in engrave mode.
You can “almost” hide a unused clef by changing the scale to 0 in the Music Symbols.
You can change the number of staffs of the instrument to 1 and change the “Minimum barline protrusion”.
Write all quarter notes and hide them.

Now it might be possible to remove the barline outside of dorico?
Or just leave it like that.

Here’s a link to a 0-Line instrument that benwiggy posted.

You can use an Invisible Clef as well if you want.

1 Like

@FredGUnn and @Nukkul thank you so much for your suggestions. And thank you to @benwiggy for the 0-line xml file. It all worked and I think the chart looks great. We’ll see what the guitar player thinks!



I am using dorico 5 and been exploring the 0-line stave for chord charts.
managed to import the zip file from @benwiggy but i only see the 0-line version named as piano, shown here:

I dont need a one-line stave anyhow, besides i know how to create that.
i’m nearly there but dont know how to get the chords in the middle of the (invisible) stave. As you can see, they are over the top as would be in lined-staves:

Can anyone tell me how to get them lower (in the middle of the stave) on a per-player basis, ie just for the chord-only score.

In Engrave, select all the chord symbols. In the gif below I used Select More x3, but Select All and Filter for chord symbols works fine too. Then simply Ctrl+Alt+arrow them down to where you want them.


thanks for that tip, @FredGUnn . i can do that. Appreciated your help as i’ve learnt a new trick- the “select more” command, very handy!

Only down side is that if i write new parts for the score i have to do the same for new chords and its a bit of guess work to get the newly-added chords vertically in the same position.

I’m hoping there may be some was of setting the vertical alignment of chords so its a default (per project) I notice some chord fonts sit vertically different from others so thinking the answer may lie there.

BTW @FredGUnn how did you get the bar line at the start of each stave? mine are missing on the second line and onwards.

1 Like

Just select them all and type in the the Y offset value you want, then they will all be positioned the same:

Notation Options / Barlines / Systemic Barline

1 Like

awesome, case solved. thank you @FredGUnn
What version you using? I found these settings but they appeared differently assuming i have adjusted the same parameters, shown here

notably, i had to set BOTH values to negative numbers, as show above.

1 Like

Ah, I’m guessing you aren’t using D5 Pro, but another version. The image I posted was from the Properties panel in Engrave Mode, but I assume you don’t see that. In that case you’ll just have to make a global change all at once as you’ve discovered.

i’m using 5.1 pro.

Some chords are not aligned as centrally as others (see attached PDF in this post) but i can live with this. might be to do with the bar width (as there are is NO notes to determine or set the bar contents) or possibly the extra width/height of slash chords.
My best result so far-
bowie medley, singsation.pdf (41.0 KB)

Are you sure you’re on Pro? If you start Pro while holding a modifier key like Ctrl or Alt it will start as another variant too. Here are some of the various Engraving Options I see in D5.1 Pro. It seems like you are missing most of these, which leads me to think you’re working in another version.

If you really are on Pro, switch to Engrave mode, select all the chord symbols, then down in the Properties panel, type in what Y offset you want, and then they’ll all jump to the same Y position.

In Engrave mode, just Alt+arrow any of the chord symbols that are colliding with the barlines.

Hmmm, hope i’m not missing out. this is my current version-

Thanks, @FredGUnn , Another feature i wasnt aware of- the properties panel has extra items when in engrave mode. I found the start offset X & Y as shown. Gives similar results to what i had but i still have some chords sitting higher/lower than others across the score. Not sure why but i can tolerate this. The X offset was handy too! Latest version PDF here
bowie medley, singsation.pdf (40.8 KB)